In one way reserving your final hand is smart. The obvious problem is that the White House and all those inside are running on their own clock, not the Middle East’s.
Unless Obama takes his own political risk, which he didn’t do with East Jerusalem, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is likely to stagnant until his time runs out. He can’t wait until all else fails, until the two parties are entrenched and despise each other even more. A wait and see approach turns Gazans invisible.
Obama promised to engage the peace process from day one, but he’s really waiting until the end of his term. Meanwhile Israel continues to move unchecked.
The White House’s personal proposal isn’t likely to succeed based on its track record thus far. How can we expect an honest two-state solution when, if not for Israeli settlements, America’s irritation would be directed against the Palestinians? Settlements, or perhaps only the timing of settlements, have been the White House’s sole target.
Israel’s crackdown on the West Bank and Jerusalem, religious controversies and blockades, live bullets and protests, bans on Palestinian males - all under silence from Washington.
The entire last week State Department spokesman Philip Crowley briefly touched on proxy negotiations involving US envoy George Mitchell. He claimed they were ongoing. Keeping in mind America’s hollow promise to “hold Israel accountable,” Crowley scraped together time later in the week for one more visit to the Middle East:
“Regarding the Middle East, we are disturbed by comments of Palestinian Authority officials regarding reconstruction and refurbishing of Jewish sites in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Remarks by the Palestinian ministry of information denying Jewish heritage in and links to Jerusalem undermine the trust and confidence needed for substantive and productive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. We also strongly condemn the glorification of terrorists honoring terrorists who have murdered innocent civilians either by official statements or by the dedication of public places hurts peace efforts and must end. We will continue to hold Palestinian leaders accountable for incitement.”And now the IDF has ordered a mass deportation from the West Bank, a sweeping security measure that could criminalize tens of thousands of Palestinians. We’d set the odds of no response from Obama at 60%, a weak response at 40%. Lower for a fair two-state solution from the White House.
Conversely, the odds of open conflict continue to rise.